Hardware Hacker Successfully Runs GTA Vice City on Router Using eGPU and Debian Linux – Tom’s Hardware


Alongside the battlefield stands a lone soldier, weary from the fight

A German hardware hacker has achieved an amazing feat of running the classic game GTA: Vice City on a router. The hacker, who goes by the online handle KittenLabs, has detailed their successful attempt on their blog in a post that has taken the internet by storm. In the post, KittenLabs shares their expertise in hardware and software to make this incredible gaming hack possible.

The blog post unveils the unconventional hardware setup used by KittenLabs, which includes a TP-Link TL-WDR4900 Wi-Fi router and an AMD Radeon HD 7470, acting as an eGPU. The video included in the post showcases the smooth and successful run of the game on this unlikely platform.

The story behind this groundbreaking hack is intriguing and involves a lot of technical know-how. KittenLabs talks about the router’s powerful processing abilities powered by the NXP/Freescale QorIQ P1014 CPU. They also explain how they implemented a custom miniPCIe breakout PCB to connect the eGPU to the router.

Apart from the hardware components, KittenLabs also throws light on the software aspect of the hack. OpenWrt was installed on the router, followed by bootstraping Debian Linux with additional kernel modules to enable AMD graphics driver support. Although there were some initial challenges with compatibility, the final success was achieved by switching to an older driver for the AMD Radeon HD 7470.

The biggest roadblock in the journey of making GTA: Vice City run on the router was finding a version of the game that could function on a PowerPC system with Debian. After trying various alternatives, KittenLabs came across reVC, a reverse-engineered version of the game that was compatible with the router’s platform.

However, even after successfully compiling the game and overcoming other graphical issues, there were still some glitches when characters were involved. It took a Wii U port of reVC and an update to the Mesa 3D graphics library for the project to achieve its full potential.

KittenLabs’ blog is an amazing resource for hardware and software enthusiasts. Apart from the post about the GTA: Vice City hack, there are many other interesting posts about computing, retro computing, art, and more. One notable mention is the Analog floppy synthesizer, which uses old floppy drive hardware to create music. With such innovative projects, KittenLabs has cemented their position as a proficient hardware hacker and a skilled writer, proving that anything is possible with determination and expertise.

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